Confoo Vancouver 2016 : a few notes

For the first time, Confoo, the web conference originally based in Montreal, was organized in Vancouver, during 3 days, 5-7th December, 2016; and I had the opportunity to be there !

I was there as a speaker, and I gave 2 talks :

But of course, I had the opportunity to enjoy some other talks, and meet very interesting folks !

Confoo Vancouver Organization

It was the first time the organizers, Anna Filina and Yann Larrivée organized Confoo in Vancouver, so there were less attendees (around 300) /  and less tracks (6) than in Montreal (I’ve been talking at Confoo Montreal 2 times over the past 4 years) but it was the same spirit : developers from around the world (Europe and North America mainly) and specialized in different technologies (PHP, Ruby, JS, DevOps, .NET, Java and others ) – and this is I think a great feature from Confoo : while there you have the opportunity to open up your mind to other ways of thinking (Ruby people discussing the newest Rails ActionXYZ, PHP people doing inversion of control with Symphony,  etc. ) and still be able to talk about common problems.(regexp!!! , caching, testing at different layers, etc.)

Other than that, the organizers are keeping the conference very enjoyable : many ways to socialize (welcome party on Sunday evening in a cool bar downtown Vancouver, Speaker dinner on Monday evening, Cocktail on Tuesday evening) , including the lunches served in the conference hotel with tables of 8 or so people (quite a difference with bigger conferences where you queue 15 minutes to get a sandwich !) .

Also the organizers invited the attendees to give 5mn talks (next conference I attend, I need to have one ready !) and some local  entrepreneurs were given slots to describe their startups.

Some Confoo Vancouver Talks I’ve attended

Nine New Things in Java 9, by Nick Maiorano

Nick was presenting the audience with some Java 9 features (it’s already available in Early Acces Releases, but I have to admit I haven’t given it a try yet); not mentioning Jigsaw, one of the cool new thing I’ve learned about was the new jlink utility that can bundle a java app in a single platform specific binary; that sounds like something that could play nice with Docker !

Cassandra – A Crash Course, by Hanneli Tavante

Cassandra is a NoSQL Java database I’ve never used, and Hanneli gave the audience an interesting overview of the architecture of deployment / redundancy strategies, communication with clients that can choose any nodes to send their values (which will be eventually persisted on other node), and persistence.

AngularJS 2: From Zero to Hero in 45 Minutes, by Christian Wenz

Christian gave a very interesting talk on AngulaJS 2 : being critic on the technology changes between 1 and 2 (type script, new build tools, etc.) he gave the audience some very useful tips to consider  before starting a new webapp (potentially based on AngularJS 2 )

RegEx Is Your Friend, by Liam Wiltshire

Regex … Useful for everybody in any languages, there are always some features you still don’t know about, and attending this talk I learned about (negative) lookahead

Giving a talk about application caching, I was curious to learn more about « inter services caching » . David helped the audience understand what a Varnish architecture look like, and how it leverages HTTP features to cache requests / responses. To put it simply,  Varnish is a « cache through » mechanism using a Web server as its system of records. I was surprised to learn HTTP caching with SSL was not an out of the box feature though…

Final words

As you may have understood by now, I really enjoyed my time at Confoo Vancouver : the city is a great place to host this event (with other technological hubs such as Seattle) and I hope I’ll join next year, meanwhile if you’re in Montreal, come to Confoo Montreal next year hear me speak about Docker & Java (and if you’ve already attended it, come again, it’ll be updated  :-D)

 

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